Thursday, October 23, 2008

Psych of Ads and Thoughts of Sex

Garrett Hopkins

TA: Kate Brant

The Psychology of Advertisement

Anyone who has ever taken a psychology class has studied Sigmund Freud. One of his most notable contributions to the study of the mind is his declaration that all actions and thoughts can be linked to our sex drive. Knowing this information, and knowing psychology and advertisement are hand-in-hand, there is no wonder as to why so many commercials use sex as a way to promote their product. I almost feel lazy using a sexual ad for this paper noting its’ obviousness, but nonetheless it has proven to be a great example. I chose an ad from Axe Body Spray. It’s their original ad if I’m not mistaken. Axe is a strongly scented body spray, and this ad depicts people having just completed an unknown sexual act in an odd place, at an odd time. I believe that this ad is tapping into the Freudian theory of “constant sexual thought” by showing that people who use the product have a chance to engage sexually at any time quite sporadically, and causes a subliminal urge to partake in activities like this.

The ad begins with music I can only describe as “risky”. We see a few young women emerging from miscellaneous places, such as a dressing room, a tennis court and an airplane bathroom. They all are looking around nervously and they all have imprints of random signs on their backs. One girl has a car wheel…another has a no-smoking sign… We are left with the impression that they were just engaged in a sexual act with their backs pressed up against that object/sign.

The last scene is the girl exiting the airplane bathroom. After she nervously walks out, fixes her hair and walks past the camera (revealing a no-smoking sign imprinted on her back), a guy walks out after her, looking like he just had the time of his life. His face is red, his hair is messy and he has a slight grin. It’s clear he just got some. As he too turns and walks off camera, the words appear. “It can happen anywhere.” That phrase pretty much sums up the entire message of the commercial. The next shot is a guy in the bathroom spraying on Axe, and as a confident male voice says “The Axe Effect”, those words appear front and center along side an actual bottle of the product.

This is a very effective add. It cleanly connects with our sex drives, both for men and women, whether we like it or not. Along with having sexual images, such as women in bikinis, the ultimate message is extremely sexual as well. “It can happen anywhere”. “It” is our ultimate desire and purpose in life, if you want to go there. We think about “it” all the time, whether we know it or not, so the prospect that it could happen at anytime is a very intelligent way to promote a product. My secondary ad backs up this point.

The ad is for Trojan Condoms. A man in a tuxedo knocks on a door and is greeted by a very attractive woman in a red dress. After we learn this is his wedding day and the woman is the bride’s sister, the woman pulls him inside and shuts the door. She tells him she wants him once for herself before he marries her sister. The woman says it’ll be their secret and walks toward the steps, undressing as she walks. It is obvious the guy thinks it is a good idea and is down for the adventure. He runs out to his car to grab a condom from his glove box, but as he reaches for them, we hear clapping and cheering. The promiscuous groom looks around, only to find the entire family of the bride looking very happy. Her father walks up and says, “I just had to know what kind of man you are. You passed the test. I’m proud to call you son.”

This ad too highlights the hopefulness most men have toward spontaneous, risky sex. Not just for men, but women too, because to me the sister looks a little disappointed at the end. Though it is not necessarily saying the product will bring this spontaneous sex upon the consumer, like the Axe ad is, this one still deals with the same psychological quirk all humans share. Both ads are painting a picture of one of our deepest desires and making them seem available AND common. Both really make random sexual encounters seem easily obtainable. In both, the male “victim” is an ordinary looking fellow, giving off a familiar day-to-day vibe. Every single woman is extremely good looking. This connects with that familiar “day-to-day” guy. It finds the part of their mind that is constantly seeking sexual pleasure, and reminds it that deep down, it truly wouldn’t mind hooking up with a very attractive woman. After connecting and grabbing hold of attention, the ad then explains how their product can help them achieve this.

Ads everywhere create fantasies, shape the ideal that people want to achieve. Calvin Klein's euphoria ad helps to do this. The single phrase "live the dream" is responsible for putting the image of "the dream" into your head.
The model looks seductively at the viewer, as she represents what the ideal woman should strive for--beauty, sexuality, being on the cutting edge of fashion. This helps to propel the idea of sophistication and how to go about getting it. By buying this fragrance, you can accomplish securing the dream life.
The bottle also shows sophistication--the metallic body is symbolic of the rich lifestyle. It echos the metallic luxury that money can buy--many of the cutting edge appliances (refridgerators, ovens, stereos), as well as luxury cars, often show the sheen and elegance of the product through their use of design. The curved edges and smooth surfaces (like on the bottle) is reminiscent of the surface of what people put in their homes and in their driveways. One can often assume that a man or women who drives a nice, shiny, new car has money to spend. And how much money you have to spend often depicts how successful you are in your job, and consequently, in your life.

Cartier's add for their new diamond engagement ring collection strives to send the same message as the Calvin Klein ad. Diamonds are often the choice for engagement and wedding rings, as they are seen as the most precious and beautiful jewel and therefore are regarded as worthy to give to the love of your life when making a life-changing and important commitment.
Not that other jewels wouldn't suffice, but Cartier is trying to sell their diamonds, so they go so far as to say that by buying not just their jewels, but their diamond engagement rings that you will secure "extraordinary love". And of course extraordinary love is something we all want. You just don't want a regular love for the person who you're going to spend your life with. This, again, is getting you to want the ideal, the "dream life". Often, women especially, dream about their weddings, and having one of these rings shows that you have gotten that dream. And with "Collection starting at $4,200", this also is like the car--pricey. Only the financially successful are likey to buy these products.
And although people can make their own decisions on what to buy, if someone is going to buy perfume or a ring, they may just be more inclined to buy these products after seeing these ads, as the glamour being displayed in these ads may stick in their minds.
I also think that the colors in these ads may help to draw you in. The very neutral browns in Calvin Klein's ad help to make the models eyes pop, which catches the viewers attention. The bright surface, added with the purplish side of the bottle make this perfume stand out. Having the text in white helps it to stand out with the bottle, not only because it stands apart from the neutral background, but compliments the color of the bottle.
Cartier's diamond rings stand out from the very bright red that makes the background of the jewelry ad. Having the rings be bigger than they actually are also help pull in the viewer.
Overall, these two ads' main goal is to sell luxuries that are supposed to contribute to a life a glamour. This is often desired by women and these ads are saying that that is within your reach--with products like these. The companies need to do this to sell items that people don't really need. One ad does this by mostly targeting the potential buyer directly, while the other ad tries to catch the attention of people who would be buying gifts for someone else. Whether or not any of this is accomplished is up to the public--and may be decided when looking at the sales. However, by using pretty models and by enlarging the image of the rings to show the details, the companies are trying to get an edge over their competition.
"Live the dream" is what really caught my eye and made me want to write about this article. It seems as if the majority of ads are trying to say this. Many people who look at these ads want what they see, but cannot afford the items displayed. They say they would by it, if they had the money. And more money to buy things is what many desire--it's "the dream".

Mallory Davidson

Anti-viral Marketing?

When Sony lauched its new line of HDTVs in 2006, the Bravia, they attempted a new marketing strategy focusing on the boldness of the colors present in their new televisions. A series of ads were developed highlighting the broad color range, and comparing it to the vibrancy of color as it existed in real life. To this extent, the ads filmed extraordinary displays of real color, such as paint exploding from an apartment complex in Scotland. The third ad in this series was the most anticipated, and when revealed, proved to be the most dynamic. A lengthy stop motion clip in the busy streets of New York using in excess of 2,5 tonnes of plasticine. (Conversion factors?) The ad, however, would not achieve its full potential until it made the jump to the internet, where it saw a huge surge in popularity. I believe this was not only an intention of the Sony advertising firm, but also that this ad was specifically tailored to appeal to “viral” audience of the internet.

The “YouTube” generation has always been a step ahead of the game in terms of what the mass audience craves. These techno-viral guru’s cling to the unusual and unique with such fanaticism that has the power to determine the fate of a potential internet media user. This power is responsible for the longevity of such phenomena as the “Numa Numa Dance” or “LolCatz”. It is no wonder that these elusive pop culture representatives are the new demographic of many advertisers. But just as advertising has grown to a new target, their target has outgrown the ability to be manipulated. The viral metaphor becomes clear when we examine the numerous failed attempts to harness this untraceable power of cool. (See Sony’s “All I Want for Christmas is a PSP”)
Marketing firms are forever searching for the next way to latch on to this self-propagated advertising, and Sony may have finally found it; for now.

The ad which has achieved so much recognition is the third ad in a series celebrating HDTVs. This final ad was anticipated widely due to the successful use of a “hype” machine and when it finally arrived, viewers were amazed. This video uses an age old technique in an not so unordinary way to create a spectacle that can somehow still amaze. The trick is simple, but would only be effective in this time period.
In todays world of computer generated imaging we have seen many things that were thought impossible and shows like the one in this Sony ad have become commonplace. What creates the buzz for this ad, is the obvious push away from that semi-realism we have come to see as common. This ad was made entirely without the aid of computers. 40 animators labored for over three weeks to carefully compose what amounted to over 100,000 still images of rabbits taking over a busy New York intersection. There is a scale of accomplishment here that demands to be respected. And the people that consider themselves video gurus, took the bait instantly.
The content of the advertisement is simple, non-informative, and curiosity inspiring. Almost begging the viewer to learn more.(That in fact was what led me to choose this ad.) And at a length of just over a minute, this video seems to be almost made for the internet. In addition, one only has to search once to find the plethora of additional material made for this hype. A sneak trailer was released on YouTube before the video came out, and following it’s release, a documentary on the creation was released. All these “bonus goodies” reward the curious viewer and inspire the thought that their curiosity would only be more rewarded by further investigation and eventual purchase.

An ad with an almost identical strategy is the Honda “Cog” ad of 2004. In this ad, engineers laboriously dismantled two full Honda Accord hatchbacks and built a fully functioning “Rube Goldberg” machine which moves precariously through incredibly feats of precision to finally unveil a still-assembled Accord at the end. Clocking in a two whole minutes, there is no doubt this ad saw little air time and built hype off of curiosity. Like the Sony Ad, this ad has no information apart from the title at the end, and a limited soundtrack. This ad was also released with a “making-of” featurette. This ad also commanded the respect of the viral audience with it’s authenticity. In 606 takes, the full machine only functioned fully once. When this ad was presented to the executives at Honda they remarked as to the technical proficiency of computer graphics and were floored when the were told the ad was real.1
The real success of these ads comes from the fact that they are not trying to fool an audience. Something new in the relatively one-dimensional “viral marketing” model--which previously focused on subversively incorporating “cool” product placement--the usually intelligent online community responded in kind. By presenting television viewers with something more entertaining than persuasive, and rewarding consumers for their curiosity with online goodies, the companies set a good model for themselves; and by demanding the respect of the online “powers-that-be” with honest technical prowess, these firms have earned themselves a veritable boatload of free publicity through the wonder of online communities. Although these ads are slightly dated, the seem to represent a new, more frank direction in the seedy world of viral marketing.


Zach Erdmann
Kate Brandt

I look to my left, I look to my right, what do I see? Sex day and night.

Sex, sex, sex. It is unavoidable in today’s advertising. Why is this you might ask yourself? Well the answer is simple. Sex sells. Fifty years ago, you could turn on the television and watch a show that had very little sexual content on the surface. In fact a T.V. show married couple, such as the Howells on Gilligan’s island, could not be in the same bed at the same time unless one of them had a visible foot touching the ground. Why the sudden change? Because sex sells, especially in advertising even if the add has nothing to do with the product.
In my first advertisement I chose this add by Patrick Cox. Look at the ad and what is the initial thought? What type of product is this ad selling? One might think its selling genes, or maybe underwear. Yet this advertisement is for shoes. The shoe that the woman is wearing is the product that is being sold. But what is this advertisement really selling? The answer: sex. The funny thing is the shoes are meant for women. There is a naked woman with a naked man, selling shoes. The reason for this is to subconsciously grab out attention and tell women that if they where these shoes they could be but in this situation. This is not to say this exact situation but that the person wearing these shoes will be sexy and look sexy to the opposite sex. It is also showing that the shoes must be comfortable enough to participate in the activities the girl in the ad is shown doing.
I have chosen several supporting ads instead of just one to illustrate the fact that it’s the image that matters, and not necessarily the product. These first two ads are also for shoes, Sketchers to be presences, and feature pop singer Christina Aguilera. The first has Christina sitting down wearing a sporty outfit and fishnets. This is a lower degree of sexuality than the Cox ad but it is also the same methods, just geared to a different age group. Instead of the shoes being sold to adult women, these are meant to be sold to preteen girls, who might wish to be “sexy” like Christina. The second ad is another Sketchers ad and had Christina as a nurse. This is more sexual than the first ad and might be geared to an early teen buyer. This ad has more focus on Christina’s breasts and less on her legs, which was the main sexual focus of the last one. She is wearing a nurse outfit, which is revealing and is not even close to what a nurse really wears. This is simply to sell the sex appeal of the shoes.
The last ad I chose because there is much controversy over this as. I also have included the video of this ad, which was banned from T.V. This is an ad for Calvin Klein’s Secret Obsession, which is perfume. In the original banned television ad we see Eva Mendes rolling around on a bed naked, and in the magazine ad we see a close up of her also naked. This ad is aimed to make one think that you can look as beautiful as Eva by purchasing this product, just as the Cox shoes where in the first ad.
It seems today that in order to sell anything one must use sex. Not only that but it also seems as though one must use women’s sex appeal because as seen in all of the ads the main focus is on attractive women. The ads all have the same formula, sexy girl cloths optional, ad in product name, equals ad. This formula seems to work because the sexuality in ads increase as time goes on, as seen in Eva’s television ad. It seems sad that in our world today you need to but sex in everything. Now don’t get me wrong, I do indulge in the viewing of such spectacles as much a the next person, but I still find it pathetic that in order to sell a product a company has to use sex, and can’t just relay on the products over all quality.

Here is the T.V. ad

Uncensored Eva Mendes Calvin Klein Commercial - The funniest movie is here. Find it

Late Night Sideshow

Late night television is a mysterious world of locally produced advertisements full of strange characters and bizarre commercial premises. These commercials do not have the talent or the budget to create the typical desires of the commodity self. Rather they create a desire similar to a circus sideshow, where unique acts and displays draw you closer by their curious nature. In Cleveland Ohio, there is a furniture store called Norton Furniture that airs its commercials late at night. These commercials feature the owner, Marc Brown, in some very odd circumstances that are loosely tied into the store’s credit policy. These advertisements seem to capture the essence of the sideshow, creating an attraction so unique you can only experience first-hand to believe it. To describe the advertisement to another person is impossible. You have to see it to believe it. The novelty of these commercials lends itself well for word-of-mouth advertising, and in this we find the desire created by the Norton Furniture commercials. “Bragging-rights” would be the best term to describe this desire. It is the desire to be the first person to find the strange and sometimes funny commercials to show off to your friends. It’s as if to say, “I may have become a major player in the success of this commercial because I found it first and I shared it with everyone!” These commercials, by their bizarre qualities, create a desire to share the experience.

In one his commercials, we find Marc in his store surrounded by several lifelike animals and the sounds of a very active jungle. Marc, in his raspy voice and awkward hand gestures, then addresses the audience directly telling them that “. . . seriously, if you can’t get credit in my store (pause) you can’t get credit anywhere.” He then walks over to a mannequin dressed as a police officer asking it to help him. The viewer is left dumbfounded. Questions like, “What was that?” and “Is this guy for real?” will flood the viewers head. Usually the next step for the viewer is to call a friend over to confirm that the commercial is incredibly odd and perhaps funny. The viewer may then try to share the experience of the commercial with more people and so on and so on.

This low budget, bizarre commercial design has been adopted by Absolute Vodka in an advertisement featuring Kayne West. The commercial is set up like a short info-mercial selling a tablet that can transform you into Kayne West. This commercial is trying to create the desire of sharing to help circulate itself by word-of-mouth. However, it does not have the same effect because it utilizes a very well known vodka and a very well known pop music artist.

The novelty of these commercials is found in its hacky, low budget quality, and it is these qualities that may inspire ridicule from the viewer. But, that ridicule will make the advertisement memorable for the viewer and create the desire to share it with other viewers. The draw of the unique and bizarre is more powerful that many people realize.

Nathan Irish

TA Kate Brandt

I've got People

Agencies trying to sell products use tactics and one of the greatest ways to sell products is by using celebrities. The celebrities become the spokesperson for the company’s product and if the product is good enough for a celebrity, then it should be a well-made product that anyone will would want to use. In the case of the American Express commercials, the use of the celebrities show what kind of credit card company they’ll trust to take care of everything for them. A goal of advertisements is to sell their product by appealing to the masses and the majority of people dream of having a more “celebrity” life. The appealing part of the American Express ads is the celebrity and how they go through their glamorous days using the credit card and then the dreamers think to themselves that if they used the same credit card they might get a little closer towards being more “celebrity.” Using a celebrity will help the product they are promoting to sell better because it makes people believe that the product must be good if a celebrity is using it.
The first ad I chose was the American Express ad with Kate Winslet. The greatest part of this ad, for me, is how she is listing off what age she was and the role she played, but not by fully stating it. For example, she says, “ By 19, I was penniless and heartbroken,” as she’s lifting up Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility where Kate plays Marianne Dashwood. The references to the roles she is playing is slightly confusing at first because it makes one wonder what product she is promoting. Then finally at the end of the commercial she says, “My real life doesn't need any extra drama that’s why my card is American Express,” finally showing the product and also saying that with the big dramatic life that she has to deal with, her credit card company helps her with the stuff she doesn’t want to worry about.
The desires being created in the commercial is to lead an exciting life just like Kate Winslet and at the same time not having to worry about the extra stuff because you will have “people” to take care of it for you. This ad creates this desire by having all of Kate Winslet’s more famous roles being stated while using visual hints to match the statements. Then also there is a bus that goes by with a picture of Kate Winslet on it from a magazine where she looks glamorous and the picture is screaming at you “SHE’S FAMOUS!!!” and this is the famous desire being created in the viewer.
The second ad relating to Kate Winslet’s American Express commercial is a different American Express commercial with Ellen Degeneres and Beyonce Knowles. This ad has Ellen trying to call her “people” to go to Beyonce’s concert and then she figures out who her people are. The voice over of Ellen says, “The people who can get me into the shows I want to get into. That’s why I’m a card member.” Her “people” is really American Express because she knows that she can trust them to get her what she wants. The second ad relates to the first because Kate Winslet’s ad has her implying about the people at American Express being able to take care of things for her while Ellen Degeneres goes on a hunt for her people and then coming into the conclusion of the American Express people always being her people that she turns to. The desires in this ad also like the first because it makes the viewer want to also have people to be able to get them into shows and like in the first ad, take care of the extra drama.
With the help of celebrities, products become more popular because most celebrities are high-class people that are constantly idolized. With them being idolized, “normal” people want to be just like their idols and use the products that their idols use. With a natural human desire to be glamorous, people will try anything to achieve that goal.

Kaitlyn Murray
TA Kate Brandt

Did I Say Group Enough?

The ad I chose to analyze is a commercial made for television that can be found on The commercial is from the UK and is for a cell phone plan known as “Talk Talk“. The premise of the ad a group of people form various shapes while a camera films the shape they are making from a bird’s eye view. A narrator walks the viewer through the how each shape correlates with their message. The group makes a heart, an arrow, various human figures, a stroller, a phone, a face talking into a phone, and finally the plan title Talk Talk. The commercial closes with both text on the screen and the narrator saying the product’s tagline “Let’s do it together.” The desire that the commercial is trying to get across is that it wants you want to become part of their group.

The first half of the commercial is devoted to positive things that, presumably, people would want to be. It starts by using people to make the shape of a heart, which is then split by an arrow of people to form two hearts. Over this visual the narrator says “People in love.” I think it’s fair to speculate that everyone would like to be in love, and this is a phone plan is for them. The shot cuts to people making to human figures holding hands and waving to one another while a narrator says “Good friends.” So even if you’re not in love and just have good friends, this phone plan is also for you. The next shot is a group of people assembling a stroller while your friend and humble narrator says, “New mums.” There is a definite respect for mothers in our society (presuming that they aren’t fifteen and in high school) and people generally find babies adorable and being a new parent is a positive ideal all around. The commercial’s final example of parties who would be interested in this plan is as the narrator puts it, “Families.” The shape-making group of people forms two human figures tossing a ball back and forth, and the ball is made of two people spinning together. The ideal family is considered a happy part of life that brings people comfort and structure in their lives, so if you’ve ever at any point in your life been part of a family this phone plan is for you. The point all of these examples are trying to make is that their phone plan is good for anyone and everyone. You belong to this group of phone users. “Whoever you are, when you join Talk Talk…” The second half of the commercial is more business oriented in the sense that it actually tells you what the commercial is trying to market instead of just giving more examples of positive groupings of people. The group of people makes a phone (both the part you talk into and the console) and another shot with the shape-making people creating a face talking into a phone. I thought it was particularly clever that they used a bush for the face’s hair. Over these shots the narrator talks about the plan and how you can make free call to the other people in the groups you belong to. The commercial ends with the plan’s title and the tagline or catchphrase “Let’s do it together.” This line makes the point of all the people making shapes, doing something together.

The advertisement I chose to support the concepts of the Talk Talk ad is PC’s response commercial to Mac’s attack ads against PCs. Although the products are different, the both commercials are centered on the idea of belonging to a group. In this case it’s a group of PC users who come from very diverse backgrounds and careers saying that they’re PCs [users]. The commercial is trying to instill a desire to be part of this group of individuals who each do what they want to do in life. These people use PCs, and they are cool and interesting people, don’t you want to be one too?

All advertisements want to create a sense of desire in the viewer, usually beyond that of simply a desire to buy the marketed product. Both of these commercials make the viewer desire to become part of a group of positive, interesting individuals. Commercials frequently try to make the viewer feel accepted and that they belong to something bigger than themselves. They make the viewer feel that they are important and special, and most of all should buy their product because it will simultaneously make you special and part of a group.

Nelson Schneider
TA: Kate B.
Bethany Davey
TA: Kate Brandt

The ad I chose to use for my example is from Custom Home magazine. It’s an ad for a window-making company (Weather Shield), not something more mainstream and popular, but I thought it represented an advertising trend very well. It is a two-page advertisement. The first page shows a blank, interior wall intersected by rectangles of light that we assume come from a facing window. The main script hovering left of center says “Be original. Over and over.” At the bottom of the page, we see the basic shapes of two different kinds of windows – one an embellished rectangle, the other an elaborate half-circle. The small print below those reads “It takes options to impress discriminating minds. And craftsmanship to insure they stay impressed.” It then gives the phone number and website to find a dealer close to you, and finishes with the statement “See the light.” The second page continues the wall-and-window-light image from the first page, and includes a smaller rectangular picture of the outside of a house. We assume that this very large, gorgeous, expensive-looking house represents the exterior of the interior image on the previous page. The company’s name and logo fit into the bottom right-hand corner.

This ad demonstrates two trends that I’ve seen in advertising over the last several years. The first is the trend of offering the public options. The second is the trend of seeming to offer the public individuality and a chance to control their lives. The first is a verifiable, concrete thing. A company makes so many variations on a product, offering them at different prices, in different packaging. We can see this, touch it, and know that it’s real. We can see these products lined up on store shelves and read the prices on their tags. The second trend is more insubstantial. There is no way to measure if the company’s products actually make us individuals and add to the value of our lives.

The first trend, that of offering options in ads, has been around for much longer that the twenty-first century. However, I think it has become much more prevalent through the last few decades, supported by our consumer, material-driven society. The people of today don’t like being told what to do. They don’t like to hear that a company offers only one variation of a product. Where is the choice, the personal power in that? People today want to hear that a company offers many variations on a product that they can pick and choose from at their desire, be it windows, clothing, cars, toiletries….the list can go on and on. This ad gives the impression that this company is the best not only because of its superior quality, but because it offers so many variations on that quality.

My secondary example comes from an ad in InStyle magazine. It’s for a watch created by Armani. The ad is divided up into four equal sections, showcasing the same watch in each square, but in different colors. This ad, while from a different world than the first (windows usually sell to a different crowd that Armani), shows the trend of options perfectly. In all four squares, the watch is exactly the same, except for the color. Armani wants to give you the option of which color you want your watch to be, or maybe even let you buy them all and match them to your wardrobe. They are giving you power, which is a much-desired thing in our society. It may only be the power to choose a watch, but it is still power, and that is attractive to many people.

The second trend the window ad showcases is that of offering the public the individuality they crave. No one wants to be just one of the crowd, a faceless number, to go unnoticed. This ad seemingly offers that recognition of individuality through the statement “Be original. Over and over.” Also, simply by offering you options, they are offering you individuality. If you don’t like one style of window, there are dozens more that could fit you and your personality better. You could turn something as mundane as a window into an expression of who you are, and show the world that you truly are an individual.

The second ad shows this trend, as well. The different-colored watches could be a way to express yourself. If you see yourself as a pretty, feminine, girly-girl (and want the world to see that, too), you can buy the pink watch. On the other hand, if you see yourself as an adventurous, outgoing, strong kind of person, you can buy the orange watch. It’s all up to you and how you want to express your individuality.
As I said, the trend of offering options in advertising has been around for a very long time. The trend of offering individuality, however, is a more modern phenomenon. The two are very closely entwined. By offering options, you automatically appeal to a person’s sense of individuality. By offering individuality, you automatically offer options. I don’t believe you can have one without the other.

Babies and Cavemen

I have chosen to analyze the commercial created by E*trade, a financial company that sells stock, funds, and helps with insurance. The newest of the E*trade commercials involves the webcam antics of the “E*trade baby”, which is able to talk, and make a video him using E*trade on a phone. Overall E*trade is just another financial group looking for business, but like all new banking and insurance agencies, people are looking for the best quality and trustworthy place that they can find to carry out the required service. Buying stocks or insurance can be a huge decision and people want it to be a smooth process, so the commercial uses a baby to portray the na├»ve and innocent adults. The idea of the whole ad campaign is to make people believe that working with a company like E*trade can be easy. The commercial becomes a success based on its use of an infant directly relating to the desire of people wanting an easily understandable financial agency to help them with their specific need.
The E*trade commercial shows the baby using his blackberry to access stocks and trades on his phone. The immediate impact of the ad is focused to appeal to business people with phones, constantly on the go, who need to stay on top of their finances. However, E*trade is not only for business people so the commercial does a good job of appealing to a target market, but not shutting out everyone else. In fact, the commercial does an impressive job of appealing to the other group on a deeper level. The actual images on screen include a baby on his business phone receiving e-mails, phone calls, and has a promo for a new E*trade Mobile Pro. While the aspect of humor is appealing to keep people watching, the use of the images on screen have a way of keeping people thinking about using E*trade rather than a quick laugh at its commercial. The distinct image of the child visually not only makes the commercial funny, but gives the idea of E*trade being so easy to use that the infant can do it. It is this part of the ad that works on more levels than just appealing to a business class. Almost all adults will be forced to deal with finances and many choose to buy stock. Financial investments like these can become stressful in an adults life and need to be handled properly and with as little trouble as possible. This image of the baby completing his stock trades on a phone gives a person peace of mind and a desire to use E*trade in order to make these life decisions easier. The value of new technology in media can constantly be a scare to the average person because one can find it difficult and overwhelming to use or even understand. E*trade took the liberty to show that any person (even a child) can use its services with ease. Similar marketing techniques are used in the Geico commercials that aim to show the ease of using their company through humor and their well-known slogan, “so easy, a caveman could do it.” Geico works on the same levels visually as E*trade which proves my point of the use of technology being scary to some people and a company’s goal is often to make people feel relaxed and safe when choosing a financial service company. Their idea of a cavemen living in the present gives a quick laugh, but still puts a trust in people that they think it would be easy to work with a company like Geico. E*trade and Geico both used ads effectively to show what unique program their company has to offer, but appeal to the people at the same time by giving them an idea that they can trust in their services. An important decision financially should be taken care of by people that care about their costumers, and E*trade makes sure that point gets across in their commercial even if people have to look past those adorable baby’s eyes to see it.

In the end, in order to have a successful advertisement, companies need to take to mind elements that both E*trade and Geico used. Technology is always going to change, and with adults being slower to adjust to the technology, companies need to make sure to get across the point that their services are not complex. Instead they need to stress that they are easy to use, and is in the consumer’s best interest to choose to work with their company. E*trade made people confident that technology is a friend and can be helpful. This idea must be used by all companies to make a successful ad. If a company wants to appeal to everyone, the best underlying statement may be as simple as even babies and cavemen use it.

Matt Prekop
TA: Kate Brandt

Editing and Humor in American Advertising

In the past few years I have noticed that there are more and more commercials for products, movies, and television shows that use rapid editing of other footage to come up with a humorous advertisement for the product, or commercial for watching the show. The first example I came across for this was of the television series The Sopranos being shown on A&E where the people who made the commercial edited footage from all six seasons, so it looked like the characters were singing an opera song, and then stating that "It's not over till the fat lady sings." showing that even though The Sopranos has ended its series on HBO (it's original venue) it lives on the new channel A&E.

As you can see in this video, by taking different scenes from the show out of context, for instance if someone was yelling or just had there mouth open, it can appear like they are doing something totally different, such as singing the opera song. This is actually a very affective ad because people who have watched The Sopranos find it very funny and nostalgic because they get to remember all those little moments, in a humorous way. For those people who have never watched the show, but most have at least heard of The Sopranos, they know that not only can they watch it on A&E it portrays the show as if there are many different interesting characters, or things that take place through out the six seasons, making them more likely to sit down and watch it on the new channel. Especially for a show like The Sopranos to have something like this is very rare because, there show is usual advertised by the amount of awards its won, or the sex, violence, and language. But since A&E can't show those things from the show as explicitly as HBO could, they chose to advertise it a totally different way. We are seeing this more and more in Modern ads because people, are so use to seeing sex, or violence being used to get people to watch it, those have always been popular. But taking a non-comedic show, or product and making it clever or funny in editing, is something new we see more often in the past 8 years.

Another interesting thing about these types of ads is that many people who have access to programs like iMovie or QuickTime Pro have created there own short video clips, using this same process, except that they are not really advertising anything or at least not intentionally. However many of these types of films, are just as popular on sites like as actual advertisements.

In the next video I found, it is advertising a product. This was one of the very first iPhone ads that is just a series of video clips from movies and television shows, that are edited together showing people picking up a phone, or a phone ringing, and them saying "Hello." Despite the ad showing absolutely no features of the iPhone accept the brief iPhone spinning around at the end; it is still a very effective commercial. Much like The Sopranos, iPods and Apple in general has created a highly recognizable symbol, and meaning. So just by saying "Coming In June" it got people intrigued enough to either go online, or find out about the new iPhone, coming from apple. Since the ad makes it seem like an exciting new product full of mystery. Also the showing of the movie clips in the beginning, would hook people right away to keep watching, because they don't know what this is. Is it a commercial for some sort of award show? Is it a special on movies? Is it an ad for something? A trailer? They don't know so they keep watching, and then they see the apple symbol, and they know it will be something new and interesting all on its own.

Both The Sopranos ad and the iPhone ad are also very interesting because they have a good replay value which is strange for a commercial you might think, but people actually enjoy these because they are clever and funny, and not something they are used to seeing on TV. People show these to there friends, and instead of skipping to another channel during a commercial break, because you've seen an ad so much, this one people might actually stay for to watch again. Because they are brief, funny, and intriguing.

-Marco Cannestra
TA: Kate

JC Penny – Get That Look

“The way we distinguish ourselves is by showing our individuality” (Elisa Camahort, author of We Got Naked, Now What) but “groups have their own sense of community” (John Allen, author of A Network Called 'Internet'). Nowadays the one goal all of us want to achieve is fitting in. On the other hand, we all still want to be who we are and be different from one another. Advertising has really been pushing this very subject for many years and the ad I analyzed is no different. The advertisement I chose to examine for this project is a JC Penny commercial for back to school clothes. It is a fairly recent ad that I remember seeing on television and it has stuck in my head ever since then. The ad presents a group of teenagers who all have to go 'back to school' in order to fulfill a weekend detention they all aquired. They are all put into one room together, the library, and are forced to spend the day with one another. Besides the fact that the ad is selling clothes, I believe it is also selling the desire to fit in; be an individual while still being part of the crowd.

The first thing that stands out about the ad is the song playing in the background. It is “Don't You (Forget About Me)” originally sung by Simple Minds and can instantly be recognized as the theme song for the 1985 classic “The Breakfast Club”. Already the viewer can relate to the ad because of the familiarity of the film being personified. When the kids are dropped off at the school, it becomes clear that the “Breakfast Club” scenario is the entire basis for the commercial. The commercial depicts several scenes that were in the movie that show the 'gang' becoming a close knit group of friends. They each have their own individual style but that doesn't stop them from bonding over the similar experience they are all facing together. This very popular movie has become a prime example that kids of different backgrounds can come together and be friends and this is why it was used for the commercial. When people think of “The Breakfast Club”, they think of completely unique people getting past everything that has kept them apart before and truly becoming friends. However not only are they connected because they are all in detention but also because of the clothing they are wearing. They all come from the same store but each person is still their own individual. The kids bond very quickly and soon all become friends. By wearing the clothes from JC Penny, one is an individual yet they are also part of a group. By referencing this popular movie, the commercial enhances the desires of people to be an individual in a group.

The second advertisement I looked at is somewhat different but contains a very similar message. This ad for Khols Department store shows people from different parts of the country in different situations. They are all wearing the Khols brand and the shots are all tied together by the wind blowing through each individual frame. In this ad they don't have a similar situation to bond over but they do have the clothes. The catchphrase for the commercial that crosses the screen at the end is 'find your place in the rhythm of life' and yet the song in the background states 'we're all in this together'. So once again we are all individuals living our own lives but we're all living together in the same world.

Advertisements often send mixed messages to viewers. We're all our own person yet we are just one of many living here on this earth. But to the viewer it doesn't seem mixed at all. It is normal for people to have the desire to fit in with the rest of society while still maintaining the individuality that sets them apart from everyone else. Advertisers draw upon this need to fit in to get people to but their products. They intensify that desire people have inside of them to be like everybody else. Although we are merely one out of billions in the world, we can still fit in but with our own individual style.

Sara Nesbitt

TA: Kate Brandt

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What is it?

By Johnathon Olsen

Earlier this year our favorite computer juggernaut Microsoft set off on what it hoped would be a successful ad campaign to put a stop to Apple's ever-growing popularity. Expectations were high on both ends, so much so that Microsoft shelled out a rumored 10 million dollars to Jerry Seinfeld for his participation and planned on dropping 300 million in total for the campaign. Murmurs spread across the land. Nerds everywhere day-dreamed of the all encompassing awesomeness that such an ad campaign would entail. Finally the day came. Silence. As reported by the British Telegraph "The first advert featuring Gates and Seinfeld was met by a collective scratching of heads as viewers struggled to fathom what the two men's oblique and unfunny discussion had to do with computers." In fact this ad and its followup were so poorly received that Microsoft apparently went to the next phase of the campaign, sans Seinfeld and Gates, ahead of schedule. As mentioned in the quote from The Telegraph the main complaint from people seemed to be that the ad had seemingly no correlation with the product. I however feel that this is a ridiculous claim and would like to show you why.

First off I would like the deal with the pesky Seinfeld issue. His presence in these ads has been held up as proof that the commercials have nothing to do with Microsoft. A big part of this is probably due to the fact that his T.V. show was always said to be about "nothing" and so people see this as some kind of continuation. This is obviously just lazy thinking though and seems to come from people who don't really like Seinfeld in the first place. The second complaint thrown his way is that he doesn't have anything to do with Microsoft. This too is silly. What does Jeff Goldblum have to do with Apple? or Jerry Seinfeld for that matter:

Celebrities have been used in advertising for a long time for two main reasons. The first is that most people in this world are unsure of themselves and don't really know what they like or want unless someone else tells them. The problem arises though of deciding just who to listen to. Because they have often seen these Celebrities, whether it be on T.V. hitting a ball around or on the silver screen living their oh so interesting lives, people feel as if they can trust a Michael Jordan type when deciding what kind of under garments to wear. The second reason that celebrities are often utilized in ads is that they are usually connected in the public conscious with certain ideas that the company hopes will then be connected with their product. So when Apple appropriates the images of Picasso, one of the richest painters ever, and John Lennon, one of four members of the most infamous rock band in the world, they are in fact doing this in hopes that people will think of them as somehow different than the masses. This works because things like art and peace, two ideas heavily associated with them, are still thought of in our society as somehow being on the fringe, even if their proponents are some of the most well known people in the world. Isn't that silly?

So why would Microsoft want to use Jerry Seinfeld right now? Using the first reason we can say that a lot of people know who he is. He was after all the star of an incredibly popular and long lasting T.V. show named after himself. Every week families would gather around and watch as Jerry shared a piece of his life with us, so why wouldn't we then also lend our ear when he felt like giving us a little tip on which consumer goods we should pick up? The real key though is what it is about Seinfeld's public persona that Microsoft would like you to associate with them. Jerry Seinfeld is know for one reason and one reason alone. People find him funny. There is no coincidence that after a few years of watching the humorous "I'm a Mac" commercials kid their way into the public's heart Microsoft picked an incredibly popular comic to head their campaign. So why is Seinfeld in the commercials? Because he is famous and funny.

Now that we have that settled we can move on to the still looming question of what the heck this thing has to do with Microsoft. As mentioned earlier a very common pattern in advertisements is to have a celebrity rub shoulders with one of the company's commodities. Now we can check off the the celebrity box, that we've already established, but this commodity thing still seems to really be stumping people. It's a commercial for a computer company but all I see is shoes. Oh no! The problem with this reading of the ad is that it completely overlooks the presence of Bill Gates, who only seemed to get mentioned in the negative responses of the ad when people wanted to point out his stiff acting. The truth is that we can pull our papers back out and be confident when we also put a check in the commodity box because Bill Gates is our commodity.

To help prove my point lets play a game. I want you to flip your sheet over and write down the first five words that you associate with Bill Gates. Okay? Go! .... Now lets go over your answers. If at least one of your words wasn't Microsoft chances are you have no idea who Bill Gates is in the first place. Bill Gates is synonymous with both Microsoft the company and Windows the operating system. They are forever connected in the minds of the public and so one can just as easily be swapped out for the other. When Bill Gates shows up on T.V. we know what it's about.

But Bill Gate's presence does more than that. The ad plays off some of the public's preconceptions of Gate's in a way that I think is once again a direct response to the "I'm a Mac" campaign. In the popular ads from Apple the heavy handed message remains time and time again that Macs are for fun and creative people while PCs are for conservative business types. If you are Microsoft you probably realize that it doesn't help that the man, who we already have established as being synonymous with the company, is a computer nerd with a bad haircut who also happens to be the 3rd richest man in the world. By playing off the irony of seeing Bill Gates at a discount shoe store in a shopping mall Microsoft seems to want to say that they're in on the joke too.

So after a bit of looking we can see that this ad, which so confounded the public, is really just a slight variation on an already established formula. By using a celebrity and another celebrity which doubles as a commodity Microsoft hopes to shift people's perceptions of the company by playing off the public's simplistic views of said celebrities.

Perfect People - Project #2

I chose my commercial specifically based on the theme of our blog, which is “Perfect People.” In doing so I found this commercial on YouTube of Eva Longoria, who plays one of the housewives on the hit ABC television show Desperate Housewives. She is doing the commercial for L’Oreal, and more specifically for one of their shampoos called Vive. Throughout the advertisement, Longoria emphasizes the idea that Vive is not like other shampoos and is the most original shampoo you can buy because it is made just for your hair type. By using a very attractive and prominent television star the ad creates a desire to be an individual but to also look “perfect” as well. Thus, the entire theme of the ad is that by using Vive shampoo by L’Oreal you are a unique and beautiful individual.

L’Oreal is trying to create a specific type of desire in every woman that watches this ad, and that desire is to be both unique and attractive. L’Oreal does this by using Eva Longoria who is very attractive, as well as a central theme of individuality. I noticed that throughout the ad, Longoria uses buzz words such as “unique” and “signature.” These words are designed to establish an overall tone in the commercial of individuality. Also at the start of the ad Longoria says, “Ask yourself, is your shampoo designed for you?”, as though there is a problem unless your shampoo is specifically designed for just you in a secret laboratory somewhere. The objective of L’Oreal was to create the idea that every bottle of Vive shampoo is made specifically for one person. L’Oreal wants you to think that you are the definition of unique when you buy their Vive shampoo, when in fact you are just the opposite because you are supporting a company that is known world-wide and sells millions of bottles of the same shampoo to other people.

This idea of being glamorous and attractive is one of the staples of L’Oreal as it can be seen in this other commercial with Heather Locklear. Locklear is endorsing another one of L’Oreal’s shampoos called Preference, and the formula is clearly the same. L’Oreal is using a prominent movie star to sell one of their products to create a desire to be an individual while also being sexy. Some of the buzz words used by Locklear to draw you in to the theme of the commercial include “gold standard” and “glamour.” Although there was more of a theme of glamour in Locklear’s ad, it is comical to me that these two commercials are identical in almost every way, most notably the use of a prominent Hollywood star as well as the same basic concept.

I realized that L’Oreal wants to promote this image of glamour and uniqueness in all of their commercials, but they also create a desire in women to want to be and look like these Hollywood stars that they cast in most of their commercials. The stars that they use in their commercials are some of the most beautiful women in the world, and I realized that this is a very useful tactic in order to get women to buy their products. It works because by using these exceptionally attractive women, the average woman watching at home starts to feel a little insecure or self-conscious thus, a desire to look more attractive is created, women go out and buy these products, and they feel better about themselves. It seems to me that L’Oreal is using textbook psychology to get into the heads of women, which in turn allows L’Oreal to turn a profit at the end of each year.

Whether the emphasis is individuality, or glamour or a combination of the two L’Oreal has one goal in mind: Create a feeling within the viewer that makes her feel average or mediocre, which in turn creates a desire to want to look more attractive or be more of an individual. Then sell the idea that the only way to be sexier and more unique is by buying our product from L’Oreal. Within the boundaries of wanting to look more attractive, L’Oreal casts movie or television stars to create an image of what an attractive woman should look like. When women see these commercials and begin to question just how attractive they are, they have a “standard” of what sexy is right in front of them, which unfortunately is not realistic. Thus, the majority of women feel as though they need to look exactly like these Hollywood stars in every way, shape and form and what they don’t realize is that this is a level of beauty that is often unattainable for the average woman and is often times an unhealthy standard for what “beautiful” should be.

Connor Murray
TA: Katherine Brandt

Project #2

Since I’m a dog lover I chose to do a commercial that involved a puppy. This commercial is the K9 Advantix commercial. In this commercial you will see a cute little golden Labrador puppy singing this adorable song while outside at what seems to be a puppy camp. The song goes like this, “ Hello mother, hello father, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, really bother, thanks for the package, that’s why I’m writing, K9 Advantix quickly stops all the biting. Swimming, hiking and tent pitching, they’re not biting, I’m not itching, can’t wait to show you, all my new tricks, thanks again for sending me K9 Advantix.” Throughout this youtube commercial the puppy is running around at camp and having a good old time. There are several scenes were you see the puppy doing some sort of activity. The activities include this puppy running around on a hill and I guess you could call it “paw painting”, instead of finger painting. At the very end of the commercial a male voiceover comes on advertising the product of K9 Advantix and what this product can prevent which happens to be fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.
How does the K9 Advantix ad commercial help to create desire? First of all, instead of having the male voice over I mentioned earlier doing the whole commercial, the male voice just adds a little bit of commentary at the end of the commercial. Having the puppy sing the song about K9 Advantix instead of having the male voiceover just talk about the product seems to draw in more people’s attention to this commercial and what it seems to be promoting. Finally, I feel that more of the audience, (which is us), will listen to commercials if there is some sort of interesting aspect inscribed in it. The interesting aspect of this commercial is the song that is worked into the commercial.
While looking closely at this commercial, I realized why they chose to use a puppy for it. Alright, well when you first get a puppy you want to make sure that it’s healthy and had all of its shots. Well, you also want to make sure that your puppy or dog doesn’t have a miserable time if they go somewhere. This is why you buy the K9 Advantix product. Basically the desire that’s being created is to protect your puppy or dog from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Usually if you protect them, they’ll return the favor and protect you.
Another commercial that promotes getting rid of fleas and ticks is the frontline plus commercial. In this commercial you see two dogs itching themselves and the dog on the right hand side flips the phone over and calls the vet to get frontline plus. You see two different hands apply two different types of medication to their dog. The hand on the left hand side is applying a #2 product, while the hand on the right hand side is applying frontline plus. While the dog on the left side is still itching, the dog on the right side has stopped and is lying down and relaxing. Frontline Plus is the vets #1 choice for getting rid of fleas and ticks. Throughout this commercial there is a male voice over for this product. Towards the end the dog on the right side barks at the dog on the left basically saying call your vet and get frontline plus.
Both K9 Advantix and Frontline Plus are both medications that you can get for your dog or puppy to help protect them from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. These products not only promote what they can do for your dogs, but both commercials also promote dogs having a good time. The only reason the dogs were having a good time, was because or their owners. Their owners bought them either K9 Advantix or Frontline Plus to keep them healthy and safe from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. The main aspect of both commercials is how both medications protect your dog and if your dog knows that they’re being protected, then they will protect you back. It seems that if you’re concerned for you’re dog’s health, that they’ll be concerned for your health.

Elizabeth Miller
T.A. Kate Brandt

Jump In

The advertisement that I chose for this analysis project is a commercial created for the launch of the Xbox 360 gaming platform. The advertisement depicts a large group of people within a city, participating in a large water balloon fight. The entire commercial is only composed of this water balloon fight, and then the logo of Xbox with the tagline “jump in.” The advertisement does not show the viewer what it is promoting, or even describe what it is the company is selling. The company leaves the viewer merely with a logo that lets the viewer know what product is being sold. Although this advertisement is very vague and non-descript, it compels the consumer to desire this product even if they do not understand what is being sold.

In the beginning of the commercial it shows a few children participating in a water balloon fight. As the commercial continues, more and more people join in the balloon fight and by the end the entire city joins in to this game. The idea of everyone wanting to join in this balloon fight is directly connected with what Microsoft wants people to think about the Xbox 360. The company wants the consumers to believe that everyone is joining in and playing this gaming console. It makes consumers think that owning an Xbox 360 makes them part of something larger than themselves, part of a movement that is important. The metaphor of a water balloon fight is a very effective way to get people to buy this product. People connect water balloon fights to simple childhood fun, and Microsoft is clearly saying that the Xbox will give you that same feeling. The advertisement depicts a group of people participating in a fun, spontaneous game. Microsoft wants the consumer to look at this and understand that the Xbox 360 can be as fulfilling and entertaining as a large-scale water balloon fight.

One of the most effective aspects of this advertisement is the enjoyment that the people within the ad are having. All the people that are shown within the water balloon fight are constantly laughing and smiling. Everyone is enjoying their time playing the game and no one dislikes it. Even people that are not part of the game end up joining in and in turn, end up having a good time. This is a very effective marketing tool used by Microsoft. Microsoft shows happy people in the ad that are enjoying their time playing the game, and this tells the consumer that if they play they will be happy also. It creates desire within the consumer and causes them to be compelled to buy the product. The company does this in an indirect way, through the use of the metaphor of a water balloon fight, but it is still very effective. The consumer understands what this metaphor entails and is led to believe that the Xbox 360 will provide an enjoyable and exciting experience. This desire created for the consumer is furthered with the slogan “jump in”. This slogan makes buying and playing an Xbox a completely new and unique experience, and that this experience will be fun and entertaining.

Microsoft created a series of advertisements for their Xbox 360 “Jump In” campaign. In another advisement for this series, the ad shows various people joining in to a game of jump rope. People are compelled to join into the fun and participate in this childhood game. This advertisement is very similar to the water balloon fight ad. It depicts people participating in a simple game and enjoying themselves. Once again the marketing team for this commercial is trying to make connections between the experience of the Xbox 360 and this simple childhood game. It tells the consumer that they will have a happy, social experience if they buy and play the Xbox. The advertisement also uses the campaign slogan “Jump In”, to the same effect of the other commercials in this campaign. It creates a desire in the consumer to want to join a movement that is larger than themselves.

The “Jump In” advertisements by Microsoft accomplish a set out task. This task is to compel viewers to buy the product through indirect marketing of the product. The advertisements do not focus on the capabilities of the product itself, but focus on the experience that the product is supposed to allow. Both the water balloon and the jump rope advertisements create a desire in the consumer to join in a movement that is exciting and that encourages fun. Microsoft is not only selling the Xbox 360, but they are also selling an experience that the consumer desires. Microsoft uses advertisements that do not express the functionality of the Xbox 360, but that create desire in the consumer to want to join in on the experience of this product.

-Charlie Ripple

T.A. Kate Brandt

Perfect People

The ad I chose is quite scandalous. It is a picture of a woman about to kiss a man because of his sexy clothes. This ad appeared in a Legal magazine that is designed to target people who are in the field of law. Not only does this ad insult the intelligence of men by saying we are only interested in buying clothes so we can “get some,” it also demoralizes the entire population of women by saying they are only interested in looks.

In the dead center of the ad it says, “ A custom-tailored suit is a natural aphrodisiac.” I find this line very lame. It’s not even clever. They could have just written buy a suit and you’ll get laid, at least that would have been funny. Anyone with intelligence would probably just flip the page. However, these advertisers know quite well that many people are without intelligence and so they tell them false information. They try to convince men that women are only interested in objects and looks. They show a man getting a kiss not because he has a relationship with this woman but because of his clothing. They plant the seed in the man’s head that just being himself is not enough. He needs to have something every other man doesn’t. And that’s something money can buy. Without it you are no better than anyone else. They also portray that getting sexy women is a normality, if you don’t do this than there is something wrong with you. Of course a lot of men do want pretty women; having a suit is not the way to get them. It takes time and effort to build a relationship. The desire that is created is the wanting of women and they say that buying their clothes will fulfill this desire.

Although this ad targets men it also insults women by playing them off as objects. The women could have been dressed in a work suit similar to the mans but of course she’s not. She is wearing nothing but a jacket that is suppose to be the mans. This shows women that in order to get a man she must be beautiful and naked. She doesn’t have to have a personality or charm she just needs to look good without clothes. If I were a woman I would be deeply offended and wonder why this model sold her dignity just for some cash.

My secondary example actually made me laugh when I came across it. This ad is for Calvin Klein jeans and in the left center it says, “Calvin Klein Double Black.” It is a picture of a woman putting her face in a man’s butt while taking off his pants. Again the desire here is women. They show a man getting with a woman because of something materialistic he has. Again this portrays that men only want sex and women only want materials. This ad really insults everyone’s intelligence. Why is this woman putting her face in the mans butt. Would a woman really do that just for pants? I think the people at Calvin Klein are not giving the human race enough credit.

Both these ads play off the idea that both men and women are interested in looks and materials. This issue is generally the way it is for most ads. Men can get women by buying things and women are just pleasure objects. I think advertisers really should consider a new approach. Many people ignores these ads and seem them for what they really are. But what about children? Although these ads are not indented for young viewers it doesn’t mean young children don’t seem them. And when they see them I hope there is someone to explain to them what is really happening here. If children grow up thinking that women are objects and men just want sex, the world could be a pretty bad place.

Matthew Axberg

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Perfect People

Val Danculovich
Film 115
Perfect People

When people say "perfect people," I think of flawless skin, shiny hair, great bodies, and striking eyes.  In this day, if you ask a hundred people if they would like to be "perfect," I'll bet at least 80% would say "yes."  This is partly seen in the numbers of people having cosmetic surgery, liposuction, and botox.  Patients can ask to have Jennifer Aniston's nose, Anjelina Jolie's lips, and Jennifer Lopez's bottom.  The familiarity the consumer has with these well-known people makes them more likely to imitate their favorite star.  The captivation with attaining perfection can also be seen in the fascination with programs such as "Dr. 90210," "America's Next Top Model," and "Extreme Makeover."  The ad I chose to talk about is a Loreal advertisement for lip gloss using actress Scarlett Johansson as the model.  All the colors of the ad are coordinated to complement the appearance of this very light-skinned, light-haired woman.  The ad agencies deliberately use images of famous people whom many consider to be "perfect people" to sell their product.  In fact, the message of this ad is "You can be as beautiful and fashionable as Scarlett Johansson if you just use our lip gloss."

When I found this ad in Entertainment Weekly, I thought to myself, "What a great ad."  There is an attractive, well-known woman who is selling a well-known brand of make-up.  The first thing that grabs your attention in the photo is Scarlett's plump, pink lips.  Right below this image is the wording "infallible 6 hour lip gloss."  From there, your eyes are drawn to the image of 4 packages of different colored lip gloss (although all colors are in the same hue as Scarlett's lips).  The ad also says "In 16 infallible shades," letting you know that in case you're not "pink," there is probably another shade made just for you.  The ad also promises that the beauty can be achieved in one easy step and can be relied upon to last six hours.  Scarlett's image shows perfect, unblemished skin, beautiful, expressive eyes and sleek, blond hair with no roots showing.  Perfection.  Although the picture shows Scarlett's hand under her chin, you don't reall notice it at first because the hand and fingernails are colorless so they don't detract from the plump lips.  In addition to the use of color and beauty, the ad also has Scarlett's gaze directed at the viewer/reader as if to engage the viewer and establish a personal connection. "You, too, can be as beautiful as me."

Loreal isn't, of course, the only company using beautiful, popular actresses to sell their make-up.  Another ad in the same magazine markets HIP (High Intensity Pigments) lip gloss, using Milla Jojovich in the ad.  The similarities between these two ads are striking.  Each uses a beautiful, popular actress as the focus of the ad.  Each is marketing lip gloss and splashes the colors across the body of the ads.  Each actress/model has conspicuous, glossy lips, perfect skin and hair, and each has placed a colorless hand near their face.  The HIP ad uses different colors and hues which may appeal to a darker haired consumer or someone who can identify more closely with this dark haired actress.  In the end, however, the focus of the ad is beauty and perfection with a suggestion that the lip gloss can make you as beautiful and perfect as these actresses/models.

In the 21st century, people's perception of perfection has been relegated to the image of flawless skin, beautiful hair, and large, expressive eyes.  At the same time, our society is getting mixed messages of perfection.  A good example is on the "Tyra Show" where model Tyra Banks tries really hard to convince her audience that it's okay to be "normal" by parading out, what she describes as usual, normal, everyday women.  The only problem is that, aside from not being size 0, they share little with the "normal" women watching the show, waiting to be convinced that they are beautiful.  These women are a little curvier than the stick thin models in the magazine ads however they are still very beautiful and sport perfect hair and make-up; there is never anyone who looks like your neighbor or co-worker.  Young girls are also preached to about body image and about the importance of being a healthy weight and yet strong, professional female athletes are rarely held up as role models.  Instead, the magazines are littered with pictures of anorexic looking Kate Moss, Nicole Ritchie and Paris Hilton. Advertising executives are simply reflecting what our society has decided is important. Condoleezza Rice, although powerful and intelligent, isn't regarded as beautiful or perfect.  So, her image isn't used to sell beauty.  Beautiful movie stars, however, are people we admire and wish we could be like.  It is their image that many people want to copy and aspire to.  The Loreal and HIP ads do just that.  They tantalize us with the suggestion that we can also be "perfect."

TA: K. Brandt